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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Friday, March 5, 2010

The Journey System: Belief

Well, this is me hoping that there's not some last-minute voters who come in and vote for something else in my poll besides "Beliefs". That would suck. So, then, I'm going to plunge ahead, in hopes that my writing is not in vain. Actually, it shouldn't be, seeing as I'm planning on blogging about all the primary attributes. Whew. (And yeah, I know this is taking a while to blog out...bear with me, doing this blog is a pretty hefty work on its own. Hopefully when I get some good amounts of free time, I can write up and compile together a test PDF of the system, in some sort of Beta incarnation. Anyone interested in testing it and giving feedback?)

What You Believe In...or What Drives You?
Well, I've touched upon the idea of Beliefs before, so I won't rehash that here. Instead, I want to talk about just how they're going to be approached and viewed in the Journey System. One question I'll answer first is a question that came up on my "vote now!" post: "What's the difference between Beliefs and Passion?" Back there, I offered in answer the analogy of a campfire (Beliefs) versus a flamethrower (Passion), but I'd like to go a bit more in-depth to just how the two of them work in conjunction in the game.

Passion, first and foremost, is the fighting spirit of a character. It's their determination to succeed against all odds, to stand up in the face of total defeat and scream defiance into the tempest. It's the reserve you draw upon for a Heroic Surge, a Crowning Moment of Awesome. It's the raw power and fire of your spirit. So on the downside, it's rather uncontrolled, and it tends to burn you out really quick. I'm considering a mechanic whereby burning large amounts of Passion from the corresponding Pool gives you large bonuses to Affinity, but at the cost of greatly reducing the Affinity of all tasks following, to reflect your exhaustion.

Belief is somewhat like Passion, but also unlike, because it represents a controlled force, and a force that has been established and stabilized. It's more of a slow burn, one which fuels you with energy as you seek to emerge victorious. It's what gives you the strength to keep fighting, even when you've been beaten down to a pulp. It's what you cling to, the last thing that you still hold on to. The biggest immediate effect of Belief is the ability to "shrug off" Affinity penalties. Your Belief also gives you a series of rules to abide by, and you can't ignore those rules without risking a loss of Belief.

A Force of Stability
Taking inspiration from the Storyteller System, I'm marking down not only Belief but also Wisdom and Dexterity as somewhat defensive stats. They help you keep (relatively) a stable and unified soul, mind, and body. So, in keeping with that idea, Belief can act as a protecting force. In the midst of the chaos and terrors that a hero faces on their journey, their beliefs form an anchor. Most importantly, Beliefs help characters reduce fear against terrifying tasks. There are some things which are so scary that a character has to make what's known as a Resolve roll to even attempt to take action against them. The Affinity of this roll is based in Belief.

Resolve rolls are also used whenever something shocking and surprising happens. This reduces players' Affinity for about a turn or two. If the roll fails badly, the duration continues. Belief, though, reflects a stability of self that is able to be calm. For this reason, Wisdom is the secondary attribute for Resolve rolls. (I'll go and explain Wisdom later on, of course) The other interesting thing about Resolve rolls? Like any roll, you can burn Passion points to boost it.

A Little Bit of Boosting
When you follow your Beliefs, you also get a little bit of reward. When you follow a Belief, you get to make a Fate Roll, with an Affinity of 4, rolling a number of dice equal to your Belief. The Affinity increases according to the cost you have to pay to follow that belief. It scales from +1 (a minor inconvenience) to +4 (devastating consequences). The number of successes gained is the amount of Fate Points that you gain from the roll. What are Fate Points?

Think of them as little ways to shape the story. In the game, they're considered to be the little powerings of Wyrd that someone receives, able to make things "convenient" for themselves. If you're in a city, for instance, where you know a friend might be, you can spend Fate Points to have them show up and help you and your companions. If you're in a brawl, you could spend Fate Points to have a bar patron stagger across the room and into an opponent. If you're in a prison, you can spend a Fate Point to have a communication hole with a fellow prisoner. Essentially, Fate Points let you control some little aspect of a scene as if you were the GM.

I know that was a lot to get through, but there's a lot of ideas to go with this whole concept. Next week...it'll be time for another stat!

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